Our Lady of the Rosary Parish began hosting migrants who are staying at nearby Wright Community College for Sunday Mass and dinner June 18. A few dozen people milled around the entrance to the college, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave., that day when Auxiliary Bishop Kevin Birmingham and Deacon Jaime Rios arrived, along with a handful of parishioners, to accompany them on the walk to the church and to Mass. The people at Wright College, migrants who are mostly from Venezuela, moved there at the end of May, while the City of Chicago works to find more permanent housing. They include families with young children, and they approached the visitors with a host of needs: often, medical help, including for a woman carrying her broken arm in a sling, and money for transit cards to get to jobs they had already found. The parish representatives invited everyone staying at Wright College to the regular 6 p.m. Sunday Mass in Spanish at St. Pascal Church, 3935 N. Melvina Ave., a six-block walk away. Dinner followed in the school gym. Parishioners plan to continue inviting the migrants at Wright College to Mass and dinner every Sunday evening for the rest of the summer. The City of Chicago has said the migrants will no longer be at the college come fall, hopefully because they have moved into more permanent housing. About 75 people came from Wright to St. Pascal for the June 18 Mass, which was punctuated by the cries of babies and toddlers in a church whose center aisle was lined by strollers. Father Michael O’Connell, Our Lady of the Rosary’s pastor, said several parishioners told him they wanted to do something for the migrants, and school families collected clothing and hygiene items, but they had a hard time figuring out how to get the donations to the people who needed them. “Then we thought, ‘We’re Catholic. They’re Catholic. Catholics go to church on Sunday. Let’s invite them to Mass,’” O’Connell said. “We’re very grateful to our brothers and sisters for sharing this Eucharist with us and sharing this meal with us.” The families staying at Wright College are among about 10,000 migrants who have arrived in Chicago, mostly after crossing the border into Texas, since last August. While the city and numerous social service agencies have worked to welcome the migrants, many have ended up sleeping on police station floors while waiting for more appropriate shelter. Most of the migrants are seeking asylum, and are allowed to be in the United States while their cases proceed. Those who came from Venezuela already made difficult journeys, often passing on foot through the Darien Gap in Panama before making their way through Central America and Mexico. “We’ve been working with other groups to help the migrants,” said parishioner Joe Angelstari. “Then we found out that we had these people right in our backyard.” Parishioner Lourdes Lara said she was happy the parish could so something. “I live in the neighborhood, and I was seeing all these families at Wright College,” she said. “I’m so grateful to be a member of this parish, which is reaching out to help them.” Bishop Birmingham distributed Our Lady of Guadalupe medals to most of the children and some of the adults before celebrating the Mass. He then welcomed the migrants, explaining that it was Father’s Day in the United States and wishing all the fathers, godfathers and father figures a blessed day. He also spoke about Pope Francis’ constant urging that Christians go “to the periphery” to encounter Christ. “We don’t need to travel to other countries to do this,” he said in Spanish. “In our time, Christ has brought the peripheries to our community, here in Chicago at Wright College.” Bishop Birmingham assured the migrants that “we are happy that you are here with us,” to take food for the soul at Mass and food for the body at dinner. “We need all of you,” Bishop Birmingham said. “More than all of you need us. We need your culture, we need your presence and we need for you to teach us your stories. Together, and more important, we need Jesus Christ in our lives, so that he guides all that we do. You all are a gift to us and we are blessed by your presence.” O’Connell, who concelebrated the Mass, gave the homily, speaking about St. Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, on Father’s Day. While the Gospels don’t say much about St. Joseph, O’Connell said in Spanish, the love and care he showed Mary and Jesus is clear if you read between the lines. That love exemplifies the unconditional love of God, the heavenly Father, who is always with all of us, O’Connell said. After Mass, one wall of the school gym was taken up by clean clothing and shoes sorted by size, as well as other items while volunteers distributed boxed dinners donated by a nearby Culver’s restaurant. Other volunteers carried in boxes of balls, skateboards and other toys.